Song lists

100% home-made arrangements and original music, classified by language, function, theme and season.


Repertoire by language
English, Romance and Germanic dialects, and difficult languages - Russian, Welsh, and Breton

Repertoire by season
St. Valentine and love; St. George, the dragon, and other monsters; Christmas

Repertoire by theme
Weird, maritime, industrial, London, self-referential, economics, ballad, animal, dance, migration

The seven ages of man
From the cradle to the grave, focusing on songs for children, and about love, war, and death

Audio excerpts
Virtual samples from the organ-grinder's repertoire


How to write...
Barrel organ arrangements and a particular genre of poetry.

Please note:

  • All these street organ arrangements for my modifed Topsy 3 are home-made. Contact me if you want a custom arrangement - whether a modification of a number below or something new - for your own street organ, musical box, barrel piano, or whatever.
  • The MP3s below use Virtual Studio Technology: this is NOT the real sound, and someone needs to sing!
  • Lyrics or translations can be displayed live on a screen, karaoke-style.
WonderfulCate Le Bonen2016From her fourth album, Crab Day
Pablow the blowfishMiley Cyrusen2015Almost as good as Fluffy.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Déu, vull ser artista, al meu cor / God, I want to be an artist, in my heartThe Singing Organ-Grinderca en2014Hi ha més estrofes, cada menys políticament correcta / Each verse increasingly unlikely to get past today's censors.
ShibbolethReginald Pikedevant2014Brief ditty on the onomastic pitfalls of the United Kingdom.
The Eddic Poem of the Vikinges Who Do Go BerserkLe Vostre GCen2014Nyne vikinges and a mightye troll / Joyne eight moore for sea patrol.
Croquetón / Sausage ManThe Singing Organ-Grinderes en2013Incidental music written for a children's story by Eva Muñoz about what happens when your food comes fast and in Godzilla-sized portions. Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
Villancico linuxeroPánico en el núcleo (Panic in the kernel)es2011Linux carol disparages Windows and Mac, makes Spanish nerds laugh: Que le den al Guindos, que le den al Mac, / que yo uso Linux y me va genial.
Lady JavaOracle / Lady Gagaen2010
Anys i anys... per molts anys!Club Super 3ca2001Catalan birthday song, obligatory fare during school gigs in and around Barcelona.
Cats on MarsThe Seatbeltsen1998Quasi-Japanese shit for your miniskirt moods.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Gacela del amor imprevistoLorca / Sans Rancune / The Singing Organ-Grinderes1998Lorca as universal revolutionary instead of reinventor of the Castilian romance: La sangre de tus venas en mi boca, / tu boca ya sin luz para mi muerte (reggaecito cojito con tango)
My pervert doppelgangerMomusen1997Best song to mention Smithfield market, 'where refrigerated lorries unload dead cows.'
Bacteriën / The Virus SongWillem Wilmink / Harry Bannink, trans. / arr. The Singing Organ-Grindernl en1996One of Wilmink's so-called intermezzos. When uncle Steve had had a poo / He scraped by hand each glob of goo / From his scrawny bum etc etc
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Copla del viudo del submarinoJuan Antonio Cantaes1996From the last Andalusian avant-gardist: En el fondo del mar tengo yo / Una novia en silencio / Un poquito de pescaito frito / Me trae su recuerdo
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Te quieroJuan Antonio Cantaes1996Macabre ballad of frustrated love from the great farewell album of the last Andalusian surrealist, Las increíbles aventuras de Juan Antonio Canta, set to a marionettish accompaniment.
Een jongen krijgt een meisjesbrief / A boy receives a girlish noteWillem Wilmink / Harry Banninknl en1995One of Wilmink's so-called intermezzos. So in / My palace in the tallest tower / I read that round name, hour by hour: / Eva Cohen.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Miss van Houten's Coffee ShoppeMartin Newellen1995Great number from the wild man of Wivenhoe's Off White Album.
The heart asks pleasure firstMichael Nyman1993From The Piano. Someone asked for it once. Advantage: I don't sing.
Appellation contrôléeFay Lovskyen1992Chanson pseudo-française: nostalgia for bad French wine.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
George is my horseFay Lovskyen1992George says he don't like these cars / These stone trails, where's the grass? Fay was last seen playing singing saw with Robert Crumb.
Carloons in the Anguish languishDoc Clayen1992Thrill your friends with a homophonic carol service featuring classics like 'Oh, ladle down off Bath lay him' and 'Shingled hells'.
EmigrantenWillem Wilmink / Harry Banninknl en1990One of Wilmink's so-called intermezzos. Veel emigranten over zee / nemen al hun gewoontes mee / naar de overkant.
Mooi was die tijdCorry Koningsnl1990
I can get along without youChas and Daveen1989Great ballad from the kings of London pub rock
Kleine jodeljongenManke Nelisnl1987
Naar de speeltuinHeleentje van Capelle met de Karekieten en het Orkest Zonder Naamnl1987
Fungus the BogeymanThe Singing Organ-Grinderen1985Inspired in some fashion by Raymond Briggs' graphic novel.
Super Mario Sheep1985Mashup created for an agricultural theatre event.
Estoy tocando fondoViudas e hijas de Roque Enrolles1984Where the fondo may be the International Monetary Fund.
Ik verscheurde je fotoKoos Albertsnl1984One of the greatest laments in the Dutch repertoire: I tore up your photo / Your letters I've burnt / In my heart I'm weeping / Though I pretend I weren't.
Theme from Terminator1984Next project: Arnie-style organ.
Himno de la Comunidad de MadridAgustín García Calvoes1983Muy bueno por irónico: Sólo por ser algo, ¡soy madrileño! (Cfr. Cánovas: Son españoles... los que no pueden ser otra cosa)
Video, possibly from another time or person:
My Granny is a cripple in NashvilleBilly Connollyen1981
Baggy trousersMadnessen1980
FluffyGloria Balsam / Richard van Dorn / Davey Saylesen1980Her doggie gets lost in the woods, and Gloria is very sad: 'Here, Fluffy, where are you?'
Video, possibly from another time or person:
You're wondering nowThe Specialsen1979Break/termination marker.
Rainbow connectionPaul Williams / Kenneth Ascher1979As sung by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie. With the pop sonnet by Erik Didriksen.
A Martian sends a postcard homeCraig Raineen1979Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings / and some are treasured for their markings - / they cause the eyes to melt / or the body to shriek without pain.
Song for the British Working ClassCornelius Cardewen1979Albanian scansion for one of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist–Leninist)'s more curious attempts to connect with normal people: Persisting in the face of every difficulty / In 1979 was formed our new party, a glorious victory. / Rallying to this flag is the only way, workers / To usher in, a bright new day of / Socialism in Britain.
Sonho meuMaria Bethânia / Gal Costapt1978Hit from Caetano Veloso's little sister.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
You're the reason our kids are uglyLorretta Lynn, Conway Twittyen1978
Hit me with your rhythm stickIan Duryen1978Tropical stylee.
Smurf songPierre Kartnernl1977
Clever TrevorIan Duryen1977
Aan de Costa del Sol (tingelingeling)Trad. German-Italian / Johnny Hoes / Zangeres Zonder Naamnl1975?Waltz, apparently stolen from Trentino in the Tyrol - see the links.
Synonyms / ShumbaThomas Mapfumo / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1975Flagrant misuse of chiShona material by Zimbabwe's most interesting singer.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
In 't kleine café aan de havenPierre Kartnernl1975
Brave Sir RobinMonty Pythonen1975Packing it in and packing it up / And sneaking away and buggering off / And chickening out and pissing off home / Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge. See also John Grubb, St. George for England.
Inland waterwayJohn Betjeman / Ben Sawyeren1974On the opening of the Upper Avon Navigation by the Queen Mum in 1974, part of the irresistible rise of the Inland Waterways Association: The lock you have reopened will set free / The heart of England to the open sea.
An hini a garanTrad. vannetais / Alan Stivellbr1973Her man has emigrated in search of work.
Willow's Song, aka The Wicker Man SongPaul Giovanni / Rachel Verneyen1973
Jan Klaassen de trompetterLennaert Nijgh / Boudewijn de Groot / Rob de Nijsnl1973The life and loves of Jan Claesen, a legendary Dutch figure, supposedly trumpeter in the army of Frederick Henry of Orange-Nassau, afterwards a type of Punch figure.
Ik ben GerritGerrit Dekzeilnl1973My name is Gerrit and I steal like the ravens, / I am a rogue in the eyes of the goody-goodies. / But what can you do if you have nothing / In this world where everything's a con.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Veerpont / The Floating BridgeDrs. P (Heinz Polzer) / The Singing Organ-Grindernl en1973The proprietor of a floating bridge over the River Lea at the Anchor & Hope philosophises, in my translation, regarding the good times and the bad: We stand here on the banks of a river swift and hot / The other shore is over there and this one here is not.
Small axeBob Marleyen1973
The socialist ABCAlex Glasgowen1973Now Daddy was a lodge chairman / In the coalfields of the Tyne / And his ABC was different / From the Enid Blyton kind.
Brucia la terraGiuseppe Rinaldi / Nino Rotait1972Swing version of theme from The Godfather / Il Padrino.
Magic eggBarrow Poetsen1972Found on a 60s LP. The video is of another piece. Gerard Benson was one of the figures behind London's Poems on the Underground. Long, long ago before time had begun, the moon lost a pebble and away through space it spun, in the world far below only water could be seen, it sank down to the bottom and it lay there like a dream.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Peppi en Kokki intronl1972Dutch 70s absurdist children's show.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Alone AgainGilbert O'Sullivanen1971
ManuelaJacques Herbnl1971
King of RomeDave Sudbury / June Tabor / The Unthanksen1970s?A pigeon race from Rome to England in 1913: On the day o' the big race a storm blew in / A thousand birds were swept away and never seen again.
Het dorp / La montagneWim Sonneveld / Jean Ferratnl fr1970Another Dutch plundering of French repertoire: nostalgia available in both languages.
Run, Samson, runThe Click Kidsen1970Run, Samson, run, Delilah's gonna get you, / Run, Samson, run she's gonna cut your hair, / Run, Samson, run, you're gonna lose your power / You're gonna go to prison and lie down dead.
Las tetas de María GuevaraPerucho Aguirre / Quinto Criolloes1970Absurd song about an absurd pair of Caribbean peaks: navigational and erotic aids.
JunkPaul McCartneyen1970
I don't eat animals and they don't eat meMelanie Safkaen1970Things were pretty bad in the 70s: I don't eat white flour, white sugar makes you rot, / Oh, white could be beautiful but mostly it's not.
Plegaria para el senador Robert F Kennedy después de su asesinatoHermanitos Garcíaes1970
Love me tenderElvis Presleyen1970
Huilen is voor jou te laatCorry en de Rekelsnl1970
Postman Pat / Pat el Cartero / Postmann PatBryan Daly / Ken Barrieno en1970In English or Norwegian. Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
Ernie (the fastest milkman in the West)Benny Hillen1970
Theme from the Magic RoundaboutAlain Legrand1970The bits featuring a barrel organ were more popular in Germany.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
De Soldatenmoeder / The Soldiers' MotherZangeres Zonder Naam / Singing Organ-Grindernl en1969A Dutch neo-broadside ballad about the Vietnam War in my translation. Probably unintentionally, its theme is similar to Brecht's Mother Courage, but the treatment is more startling and profound.
River manNick Drakeen1969
Flocon, papillon (Fabulettes)Anne Sylvestrefr1969En souvenir de notre grand ami, Christophe Quinton: Il neigera, il neigera / puis un jour le printemps viendra / Et sur les branches il neigera / des fleurs de pommes et du lilas. Virtual excerpt:
De glimlach van een kind (Toi tu voudrais)Gerrit den Braber / Willy Alberti / Jean Kluger / Daniel Vangardenl1968
Lily the pinken1968See also the Ballad of Lydia Pinkham
The bare necessities (The Jungle Book)Terry Gilkysonen1967
I wanna be like you (The Jungle Book)Sherman Brothers / Louis Primaen1967
Good morning, how are you?' 'Shut up!'Ivor Cutleren1967Don't give me the small talk, give me the big talk. Cutler's songs are both for and about children. Virtual excerpt:
I'm happyIvor Cutleren1967And I'll punch the man who says I'm not. A boxing classic to be.
Darling, will you marry me twice?Ivor Cutleren1967Cartesian doctrine in micro format.
I'm going in a fieldIvor Cutleren1967Green grass, yellow flowers / My lover’s eyes are blue.
Theme from Star TrekAlexander Courage / Gene Roddenberry1966With scam-meister Gene Roddenberry's lyrics.
Colonel BogeyKenneth Alford / Tijuana Brass1965
Goldilocks and the three bearsAfferbeck Lauderen1965In English, but also in Australian or Strine: Girldie Larks, Girldie Larks, where have you been? / I beat up London and vented my spleen, / And then I cummome menai harrased the Behrs; / I yay tarp their porridge and bro karp their chairs. / I savaged the beds and I tordan the fences. / And frightened a little mouse out of its senses.
One-note samba (demo version)en1965Used in how-the-organ-works talks.
Amsterdam huilt / Amsterdam weepsKees Manders / Zwarte Riek / Singing Organ-Grinderen nl1964Extraordinary Dutch khazan-style lament about the genocide of Amsterdam's Jewry. Evocative not only of the pre-nationalist-socialist ghetto, but also of a world still subconsciously recalled by Dutch wedding and light musicians. My translation.
The slow trainFlanders & Swannen1964A nostalgic look at the Beeching cuts.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Los tres cochinitosCri-Cri / Francisco Gabilondo Soleres1963?Three little piggies are snoring in bed, and they're all dreaming about something different.
Doctor KitchLord Kitcheneren1963A girl asks a doctor for an injection, but his needle's very big and she moves a lot, and the penicillin ends up in the wrong hole.
Hungarian Goulash No. 5Allan Sherman / Johannes Brahmsen1963Do you like Hungarian food / They have a goulash which is very good. (Pumpernickel is also associated with Westphalia.)
Rhythm of the rain / Ritme van de regenThe Cascades / Rob de Nijsnl en1962Also on the soundtrack of Quadrophenia.
Little boxes ('Ticky tacky')Malvina Reynoldsen1962We all look just the same.
James Bond themeJohn Barry1962Quasi-ska version. Virtual excerpt:
Thème des vacances (Jules et Jim) Georges Deleruefr1962
Ta Katie t'a quittéBoby Lapointefr1962Pour une sonnerie, c'est une belle çonnerie! Legendary tonguetwister. Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
De blinde soldaat / The blind soldierZangeres Zonder Naamnl1961A soldier back from the front can't see his new-born son because he has lost his sight.
La patitaCri-Cri / Francisco Gabilondo Soleres1960?What will Mother Duck give her ducklings to eat now dad refuses to work and the market is so expensive?
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Ratón vaqueroCri-Cri / Francisco Gabilondo Soleres1960?Cowboy mouse
PerritoCri-Cri / Francisco Gabilondo Soleres1960?Doggie
Di por qué, dime abuelitaCri-Cri / Francisco Gabilondo Soleres1960?Children's song which treads a fine line with grandma: Tell me why you're teeth are gone / And your hair's like the foam of the sea.
Canción de las vocalesCri-Cri / Francisco Gabilondo Soleres1960?Vowel education from Cri-Cri, an incredibly popular children's series.
CrazyPatsy Clineen1960För Sveriges största gitarrist, Tom Coskeran. Done as a waltz
StrangePatsy Clineen1960Strange how you stopped loving me ... when she came along.
As long as he needs meLionel Barten1960Great torch song from Oliver.
Puff, the magic dragon (Puff, el drac màgic)Leonard Lipton / Peter Yarrow / Peter, Paul and Maryen ca1960
Ballad of Sigmund FreudChad Mitchell Trioen1960Well, Doctor Freud, oh Doctor Freud / How we wish you had been differently employed / But the set of circumstances / Still enhances the finances / of the followers of Doctor Sigmund Freud
Brazil / Aquarela do BrasilAry Barroso / Jimmy Dorsey / Xavier Cugaten1960Samba: Where hearts were entertaining June / We stood beneath an amber moon
ZuiderzeeballadeWilly van Hemert / Joop de Leur / Oetze Verschoor / Sylvain Poonsnl1959
Poisoning pigeons in the parkTom Lehreren1959
On the ning nang nongSpike Milliganen1959Where the cows go Bong!
Manhã de carnavalLuiz Bonfá / Antônio Maria / Perry Comoen1959Bossa nova recounting significant parts of my life: I'll sing to the sun in the sky, / I'll sing till the sun rises high.
Cowboy BillyJan en Julesnl1959Part of the European craze for local cowboys.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
What a difference a day makesDinah Washingtonen1959
Inflation calypsoET Mensahen1958?Pidgin English highlife from post-independence Ghana, now with extra verse about deflation. Useful for introducing basic economics to small beings.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Elube (Mi Churri, gran perrito/My doggie, big little doggie)Ndirande Pitch Crooners / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1958The original song in Nyanja (Malawi) is about a girl, but it scans like a dog biting its tail, and so my English version is a homage to all the little doggies out there.
The super supper marchDr. Seuss / Dean Elliotten1957 / 1971Hungry, hungry, I am hungry / Table, table, here I come. Virtual excerpt:
Till there was youMeredith Willson / Beatles / Peggy Leeen1957Sophie Tucker never sang it.
The hippopotamus songFlanders & Swannen1957Mud, mud, glorious mud, / Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
De crocus en de hyacint Dorus / Tom Mandersnl1957
Concerto for Barrel Organ and Orchestra / Brass Band / Wind Band / Piano etcBernie Green1957The organ-grinder has at last got a serious classical gig but can't throw off the habits of a lifetime. With bleeding chunks of Tchaikovsky (1st Piano Concerto), Rachmaninov (2nd Piano Concerto), Greig (Piano Concerto), Fučik (Entry of the Gladiators) and Waldteufel (Les Patineurs). Virtual excerpt:
Chella llàRenato Carosone / Marino Mariniit1956
Nellie the elephantRalph Butler / Peter Harten1956Donald has asked me to revive this classic: Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk / And said goodbye to the circus / Off she went with a trumpety-trump / Trump, trump, trump.
Tulpen uit Amsterdam / Tulips from AmsterdamRalf Arnie / Van Aleda / Max Bygravesnl en1956Typically Dutch: a German waltz about Turkish flowers. Virtual excerpt:
The abominable snowmanOgden Nashen1956I've never seen an abominable snowman, / I'm hoping not to see one, / I'm also hoping, if I do, / That it will be a wee one.
De postkoets / La diligenceJos Cleber / Ferry van Delden / De Selvera's / The Catsnl1956
The country's in the very best of handsGene De Paul / Johnny Mercer / Al Cappen1956From the 1956 Broadway show, Li'l Abner: The Treasury says the national debt is climbing to the sky / And govermnent expenditures have never been so high. / It makes a feller get a gleam of pride within his eye, / To see how our economy expands, / The country’s in the very best of hands…
Tea sambaET Mensahen1956Ghanaian tea ad from the 50s.
Sunday MirrorET Mensahen1956Highlife ad for a 1950s Ghanaian newspaper.
Che sarà, sarà / Qué será, será / Whatever will be, will beDoris Day / José Feliciano / Pink Martini / The Jukebox Sisters / Dave Cashen es it nl yi1956Waltz
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus OR I saw mommy kissing Yog-SothothH.P. Lovecraft Historical Societyen1955 OR 2011Innocent entertainment from when all families were normal OR Christmas fantasy about the Myths of Cthulhu.
La Complainte de la ButteJean Renoir / Georges van Parys / Cora Vaucaire / Zaz / Rufus Wainwrightfr en1955
A woman in loveFrank Loesser1955Modified transcription of a broken-down French organ-grinder's version of this Broadway standard.
El baile de los pajaritos / The birdie song / De vogeltjesdansEl payo Juan Manuel / Werner Thomas / Johnny Hoeses nl en1955
When you are old and greyTom Lehreren1953On request only. Virtual excerpt:
I hold your hand in mine, dearTom Lehreren1953I press it to my lips / I take a healthy bite / From your dainty fingertips.
The Irish balladTom Lehreren1953Parody that says it all: About a maid I'll sing a song, / Sing rickety-tickety-tin, / About a maid I'll sing a song / Who didn't have her family long. / Not only did she do them wrong, / She did ev'ryone of them in, them in, / She did ev'ryone of them in.
The old dope pedlarTom Lehreren1953When happiness is a powder, from the well-known Harvard mathematician.
April in PortugalPérez Prado Orchestra1953Cha-cha, with grunting.
Frosty the defrosted snowmanLonzo and Oscaren1953
Vecchia pianolaKatyna Ranieriit1953An old pianola recalls the good times: Vecchia pianola d'un tempo, / d'un tempo passato, / tu mi ricordi il bel tempo, / il bel tempo che fu.
I know an old lady who swallowed a flyBurl Ivesen1953I think she'll die.
How much is that doggie in the windowBob Merrill / Patti Pageen1953The one with the waggly tail. Lita Roza's version was Maggie Thatcher's favourite song.
I'm no communistCarson Robison / Scotty Wisemanen1952Cold War country alla Ronald Reagan: I'm no communist, I'll tell you that right now / I believe a man should own his own house and car and cow / I like this private ownership, I wanna be left alone / Let the government run its business, and let me run my own.
MexicoZangeres Zonder Naam / Luis Marianonl fr1951Paso doble in de stijl van de film Le chanteur de Mexico
Marijuana, the devil's flowerMr. Sunshine and his Guitar Pickersen1951
L'âme des poètesCharles Trenetfr1951Homage (with barrel organ allusions) to the poet and painter Max Jacob, who died en route to Auschwitz: Long after the poets have disappeared their songs still walk the streets.
Yo tengo un mocoTrad. / Wagner / Mozart / Pierre Degeyter / traductor comunista desconocidoes1950Mashup with kazoo of a Spanish children's song about eating your bogies, The Mastersingers of Nuremburg, Eine kleine Nachtmusik and the Internationale ('Arise ye starvelings from your slumbers').
Abruzzo forte e gentileTommaso Coccioneit1950Instrumental from a popular 30s Italian musician.
Joe Louis was a fighting manThe Dixieairesen1950Another boxing number.
Don't laugh at me, cause I'm a foolNorman Wisdomen1950A hit by a minor British star dearly loved by Albanians during the dictatorship.
Time to go home (Andy Pandy)Maria Birden1950We didn't have a telly, but for some reason it's still familiar.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
BananasMachitoen nl ca1950The mambo king indulges in a bit of self-parody. Available in English, Catalan or Dutch.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Take you meat out me riceLord Kitcheneren1950
Victory test matchLord Beginneren1950Cricket, lovely cricket, at Lord's where I saw it
MasangaJean Bosco Mwenda1950Congolese finger-picking classic.
South of the borderGene Autry / Patsy Clineen1950Bolero
Santa Bárbara Benditaes1950Emblematic mining accident at the Pozo María Luisa, Asturias in 1949.
Smoke, smoke that cigaretteen1950
Capri-Fischer / Fishermen of Capri (Bella, bella Marie)Rudi Schuricke / Gerhard Winkler / Ralph Maria Siegelde en1949Wenn bei Capri die rote Sonne im Meer versinkt: Lola sings this tango in Fassbinder's Wirtschaftswunderbar, but the version by Gracie Fields is also rather special.
Aan de Amsterdamse grachtenPieter Goemans / Johnny Kraaijkamp / Wim Sonneveldnl1949Nostalgic waltz.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Unemployment Compensation BluesLes Pine / Barbara Dane / George Browneen1949And when I'm through with my weekly routine, / I spend my money on Benzedrine. / I've got those 'By the time I get my check, / I become a nervous wreck' blues.
Enjoy yourself (it's later than you think)Guy Lombardo / Prince Buster / Specialsen1949Because when you kiss a dollar bill, it doesn't kiss you back.
London is the place for meLord Kitcheneren1948Sung by Lord Kitchener as he came off the Windrush at Tilbury Docks on June 21, 1948
Video, possibly from another time or person:
The blue DanubeSpike Jonesen1945It's green.
Karussell (Wir reiten auf hölzernen Pferden) / Carousel (We ride on wooden horses)Leo Straus / Martin Romande en1944Translation of a song from the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. When you get off, will you be able to stand up? Quotes the Wiener Praterleben waltz by fellow-inmate of Death's waiting-room, Siegfried Translateur.
Diep in m'n hartJaap Valkhoff / Ernst van ’t Hoff / Willeke Albertinl1944Slow foxtrot
Hindernisrennen / Steeple Chase / Chasse á CoureThe Ramblers1943Splendid little novelty number, originally featuring the trumpet section.
Stalin wasn't stallin'Golden Gate Jubilee Quarteten1943An American gospel quartet lauds Uncle Joe's revenge on his old friend Hitler.
Als op Capri de rozentuinen bloeienHan Dunk / The Ramblers / Eddy Christianinl1942Foxtrot
Jolly BankerWoody Guthrie / Wilcoen1940My name is Tom Cranker and I'm a jolly banker, / I'm a jolly banker, jolly banker am I. / I safeguard the farmers and widows and orphans, / Singin' I'm a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
All I want for Christmas is my two front teethSpike Jonesen1940A little girl's terrible lisp is caused by her insufficient dentition. Works well at primary schools and dental conferences.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
My girl's pussyRobert Crumb & his Cheap Suit Serenadersen1940Often it goes out at night, returns at break of dawn / No matter what the weather's like it's always nice and warm.
HawaiiMary J. Muckle / Anon / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1940There are three words that sweetly blend, / That on the heart are graven; / A precious soothing balm they lend– / They’re Mother, Home and Hawaii!
Complainte pour l'orgue de la nouvelle barbarieLouis Aragonfr1940Wartime poem from after his conversion to Marxism: Ceux qu'arrêtèrent les barrages. / Sont revenus en plein midi. / Morts de fatigue et fous de rage.
That's all folksLooney Toons1940
In the big rock candy mountainsHarry Kirby McClintocken1940Utopia vagorum.
Begin the beguineCole Porter / Les Paulen1940Beguine
Rose, Rose, I love you / Shanghai Rose / May Kway / 玫瑰玫瑰我愛你Chen Gexin / Yao Lee / Wilfrid Thomas / Frankie Laineen1940Mandarin pop classic. Allegedly the only major popular music chart hit in the United States written by a Chinese composer.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
KetelbinkieAnton Beuving / Jan Vogelnl1940When we from Rotterdam departed / In the Edam, an ancient hulk. Tragedy of a Dutch (colonial) ship's boy who misses his mum but doesn't know how to tell her. Illegitimate offspring of Thackeray's maritime parody?
It's raining, it's pouringTrad.en1939?
Lydia, the Tattooed LadyYip Harburg / Harold Arlen / Groucho Marx / The Muppetsen1939From At the Circus. Appears as Todd's new ringtone in Breaking Bad.
You are my sunshineJimmie Davis / Charles Mitchell / Pine Ridge Boysen1939Foxtrot
The Workman's FriendFlann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan) / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1939Porter meets the Plain People, from At Swim-Two-Birds
Valzer dell'organinoBruno Cherubini / C.A. Bixioit1938More organ-grinder nostalgia.
Ik hou van HollandWilly Schootemeijer / Joseph Schmidt / Heintjenl1937
J'attendrai / Tornerai Trio Lescano / Carlo Buti / Rina Ketty / Jean Sablon / Tino Rossifr it1937I'll return because my heart is yours. Even better than the Tornerai Monteverdi puts into Poppea's mouth.
With her head tucked underneath her armRudy Valleeen1937Comic Anne Boleyn ghost song
Leaning on a lamp-postGeorge Formbyen1937Surprisingly well-known on 21st century London streets.
The tale of Custard the dragonOgden Nashen1936Very childish: the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard
When I'm cleaning windowsGeorge Formbyen1936From the film, Keep Your Seats, Please
Cool waterBob Nolan / Hank Williams / Sons of the Pioneersen1936Gloss on Psalms 42:1: I and my mule, Dan, are crossing the desert when we see a mirage: Can you see that big green tree / Where the water's running free / And it's waiting there for you and me?
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Pennies from heavenArthur Johnston / Johnny Burke / Bing Crosbyen1936You'll find your fortune falling all over the town / Be sure that your umbrella is upside down.
The Spring (Arrangements) BillA.P. Herbert / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1936Universal basic income, old style: If any person feels he must get out of London now or bust, because the Spring is in his bones, but he must work for Mr. Jones, it shall be lawful for the same to give the Treasury his name, and say 'Upon sufficient grounds I want about a hundred pounds': and there shall not be any fuss concerning sums expended thus.
WunderbarZarah Leanderen1935?Popularised in Britain as 'Wonderbra'
Shave 'em dryLucille Boganen1935I've got nipples on my titties big as the end of my thumb / I got something tween my legs 'd make a dead man come.
Утомлённое солнце (Weary sun)/To ostatnia niedziela (This is the last Sunday)Jerzy Petersburski / Zenon Friedwald / Iosif Alvek / Pavel Mikhailovru1935Polish tango about failed love, also done in a Russian, Black Sea-ish version. Featured in Yuriy Norshteyn's stunning Tale of Tales.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
To The Tabulating Machine Division (IBM Songbook)IBM employeesen1935Punch a card for every sale that's made. / There's a record which will never fade. / Sort them out by man and state - / Speedily we tabulate. Etc. etc.
RosettaGeorge Handy / Bob Willsen1935Western swing
Old Dan TuckerCackle Sistersen1935Song about a simple man, with cackle chorus. Why? Because that's how the sisters sang.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Nobody loves a fairy when she's 40Arthur Le Clerq / Tessie O'Sheaen1935
Your feet's too bigAda Benson / Fred Fisher / The Ink Spotsen1935
Isle of Capri / C'est à CapriWill Grosz / Jimmy Kennedy / Lew Stoneen nl fr1934Sometimes with lyrics featuring the River Lea / Lee in East London: Twas on the banks of the Lea that I met her / Under the shade of an old apple tree / Now I can still hear the sirens around me / As I lie bleeding in A and E.
Ugly womanRoaring Lion / Sir Lancelot / Jimmy Soulen1934If you want to be happy and live a king's life, never make a pretty woman your wife!
YoukaliKurt Weillfr1934Possibly the best tango ever.
Complainte de FantômasRobert Desnos / Kurt Weillfr1933Allongeant son ombre immense / Sur le Monde et sur Paris / Quel est ce spectre aux yeux gris / Qui surgit dans le silence? / Fantômas, serait-ce toi / Qui te dresse sur les toits?
ZuiderzeeLouis Davidsnl1932The consequences of the construction of the Afsluitdijk dam, which turned the Zuyder Zee from a North Sea inlet into a fresh-water lake.
Ursonate / Sonate in UrlautenKurt Schwitters1932Schwitters wanted to destroy conventional forms. This mashup with JS Bach and reggaetón is a revenge of the nerds.
Love is the sweetest thingAl Bowlly / Ray Nobleen1932
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sunNoël Cowarden1931A masterpiece of rhythm and rhyme dealing with the importance of adjusting one's dress to circumstances: The toughest Burmese bandit can never understand it. / In Rangoon the heat of noon is just what the natives shun. / They put their scotch or rye down, and lie down.
Oh zwarte zigeuner / Oh, play to me gypsy (Cikánka)Harry de Groot / Karel Vacek / Melody Boys / Willy Derby / Willy Alberti / Johnny Jordaan / Gracie Fieldsnl en1931Slow foxtrot.
My brother makes the noises for the talkiesAlbert Whelan / Jack Payne / Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Banden1931
Zeg, Roodkapje, waar ga je heen?Trad.nl1930?Red Riding Hood, in Dutch, now with a Spanish version.
Doris the goddess of windDouglas Byngen1930?From his royal campness. Used in Alan Bennett's 2010 play The Habit of Art.
De kikkertjes Anonnl1930?Dutch frogs are a sight for sore eyes.
Howling Cowman BluesWolfmanen1930The Organ-Grinder is better at cows than wolves.
La gallina PapanatasMonreales1930Mexican corrido about a prolific hen.
Seven skeletons found in the yardLord Executor aka Felix Garcia (ca.1878-1952)en1930From a calypso genius and the king of extempo: Hideous discoveries and monstrous crime / Always happen at the Christmas time.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Rumba TambahLecuona Cuban Boyses1930Rumba
Organ grinder's swingJimmie Lunceforden1930Slow foxtrot
Chinatown, my ChinatownJean Schwartzen1930Jackie Chan edition. Virtual excerpt:
It's only a paper moonHarold Arlenen1930
Mijn kleine groene cactusComedian Harmonists / Gerrit Bellersnl de1930Dutch text by Gerrit Bellers: Bloemen en planten, zoals chrysanten, / Of rozen, tulpen en narcissen, / Willen de mensen, zo zijn hun wensen, / Ik hoef ze niet, ik kan ze missen.
Hengeler weendComedian Harmonists / Fred van de Vennl1930Low Saxon lyrics by Hengelo's municipal poet Fred van de Ven.
Breakaway (Fox Movietone Follies of 1929)Jack Hyltonen1929Foxtrot. It's got the snappiest syncopation.
TarantellaHilaire Bellocen1929Belloc met Miranda Mackintosh at an inn in the Pyrenean hamlet of Canranc on the River Aragon in 1909.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
A tale of the tickerFrank Crumiten1929I bought an elevator stock, / And thought that I'd done well. / Then the little bears all ran downstairs, / And rang the basement bell.
Canto SiboneyErnesto Lecuonaen es1929Nino Rota's use of this in multiple guises dominates the soundtrack of Fellini's Amarcord.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
I can't give you anything but loveMcHugh-Fieldsen1928
Berlin im LichtKurt Weillde1928Foxtrot written for a festival of light staged by the Berliner Stadtwerke power company for the 1928 Berlin Festival. A companion piece to the Dutch electricity workers' union song, Op naar het licht.
Cabaret boysDouglas Byng / Lance Listeren1928Camp classic from the Pansy Craze, with numerous double entendres
Mackie Messer / Mack the KnifeBertolt Brecht / Kurt Weillde en1928Originally intended for performance with barrel organ.
El menúZöllner / Arregui Trecetes1927La versión conocida es la de Los Xey (1953), pero canto la que se hizo para la Coral del Ensanche de Bilbao.
The lonesome roadNathaniel Shilkret / Gene Austin / Joan Baezen1927
Barnacle Bill the sailor Hoagy Carmichael / Bix Beiderbecke / Tex Morton / Betty Boopen1927It's only me from over the sea / I'm all dressed up like a Christmas tree. With interludes featuring Benny Hill alla turca and the Beautiful Blue Danube (it's brown). Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
Don't have any more, Mrs MooreLily Morrisen1926?Too many double gins / Give the ladies double chins
En el jardin del Prado / La señorita Pepa / El patio de mi casaPotpourri of Valencian play songs from the 1920ses1925La señorita Pepa, que creida está / Se va a morir de tanto pensar. / Si piensa con su novio, su novio no la quiere / Por eso la pobre de pena se muere.
Lavender cowboyHarold Hersey / Burl Ivesen1923A gayboy & western classic: He died with his six guns a-smoking / But only two hairs on his chest.
The barking policeman (parody of The laughing policeman)George W. Johnson / Charles Penrose / Richard Littlejohnen1922Tribute to PC Steve Hutton of Swindon, who devised an interesting way of mitigating police cuts.
Sheik of ArabySmith-Wheeler-Snyder / Mr. Goon-Bones / Ted Baxteren1921I'm the Sheikh of Araby, this sand belongs to me. Foxtrot
It's a long way from amphioxusPhilip H. Popeen1921Evolution, sung to Tipperary: Well, it's goodbye to fins and gill slits, and it's welcome lungs and hair! / It's a long, long way from Amphioxus, but we all came from there.
El dilluns jo no treballoValencianoca1920Song in Valencian lists the days of the week on which I don't work. Their number is lucky.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Panpipe call used by an itinerant French pot-mender and pig-gelder in fr1920With humorous quotes from Spanish Golden Age theatre (inc Quevedo and Calderón), sketching the accent, appearance and behaviour of French castrators and pot menders in the 16th/17th centuries. (Ambulant moped-chain-powered knife-grinders in Barcelona and other Mediterranean cities still use panpipes as advertising medium, but with less sophistication.)
Silent nightTrad.en1920See also Carloons.
I'm living alone and I like itSophie Tuckeren1920
Five foot two, eyes of blueHendersonen1920Foxtrot
RegionalismoFrancisco Vighi / The Singing Organ-Grinderes1920
Don Pasquito at the seaside (Façade)Edith Sitwell / William Waltonen1920
El nuevo FordCubanoes1920
Jingle bells / Campanelle, campanelle, belle belleen it1920Anglo-Italian version based on Lou Monte. Virtual excerpt:
On the sunny side of the streeten1920Foxtrot
My old man said follow the vanMarie Lloyd / Lily Morrisen1919For Josep Viladot, great Londoner, exiled in Gracia, Barcelona.
K-K-K-KatyGeoffrey O'Haraen1918
Had je me maarLouis Davidsnl1916Song that provided the nickname for the Dutch anarchist politician, Cornelis de Gelder.
Second Sonata, The Airplane, fragmentoGeorge Antheil1916Everything's back to front: The Singing Organ-Grinder is the plane.
Toccata No. 2George Antheil1916
Mashup: Petrushka + My old man's a dustmanIgor Stravinsky / Lonnie Doneganen1915Portrays on the organ the orchestral imitation by Stravinsky of a barrel organ and a musical box. The video shows the Bolshoi dancing my arrangement. Ends with one of my favourite children's songs.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
My old tunesEdward Elgaren1915From Elgar's incidental music for The Starlight Express, a children's play by Violet Pearn based on the imaginative novel A Prisoner in Fairyland by Algernon Blackwood: My old tunes are rather broken / And they come from far away, / Bring just a little token / Of a long-forgotten day.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Ballad of Lydia Pinkhamen1914?
La violeteraJosé Padillaes1914Early Raquel Meller hit: Como aves precursoras de primavera / En Madrid aparecen la violeteras / Que pregonando parecen golondrinas / Que van piando, que van piando.
Sports et divertissementsErik Satieen1914A selection, in English.
Le pont MirabeauGuillaume Apollinaire / Léo Ferréfr en1912
Woad aka National Anthem of the Ancient BritonsWilliam Hope-Jonesen1910To Men of Harlech: Saxon, you can waste your stitches / Building beds for bugs in britches: / We have woad to clothe us, which is / Not a nest for fleas.
Fleur de blé noirThéodore Botrel / Toscanifr1910Dans une métairie / Comme aide berger, / Pour mieux voir ma jolie / Je me suis gagé.
Crits del carrerJoan Amades Cançoner / English C17th canonca1910Audience participation required in this canon consisting of the cries (in Catalan) of the vendors of potatoes, hats and chocolate. As good in its way as Clément Janequin, Voulez ouyr les cris de Paris
La nina encantadaJoan Amades (Cançoner)ca1910Jaime I of Aragón hunts his Hungarian queen, Violante, in the form of a stag. Alludes to the foundational myth of the Danubian country. Anti-folky version.
England and America. I. On a Rhine SteamerJames Kenneth Stephenen1909In short it's due to thee, / Thou kind of Western star, / That we have come to be / Precisely what we are. / But every now and then, / It cannot be denied, / You breed a kind of men / Who are not dignified
The teddy bear's picnicJohn Brattonen1907Don't go into the woods.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Holland ze zeggenSimon Abramsznl1906
Frankie and Johnny were loversFrank Crumit / Hughie Cannonen1904She done him wrong.
The clean songTrad.en1900s?There once was a farmer who sat on a rick / A ranting and raving and waving his / Fist at some people who sat on his walls etc. etc.
She moved through the fairTrad. / Alan Stivellen1900sOne of the most beautiful songs around. Stivell's version famously floated the melody over the accompaniment.
Incy wincy spiderTrad.en1900?
La maquinista: polka corejadaJosep Anselm Clavéca1900Clavé trolls the anarchists: Dali sens descans, / es lo pa de la familia, / la suor de nostre afany.
ValenciaJosé Padillaes1900Based on a piano roll scan. It's as if the arranger located Valencia on the east coast of Asia instead of that of Spain. / Basado en un escaneo de rollo de pianola. Parece que el arreglista ubicó Valencia en la costa levantina de Asia en vez de España.
O sole mioGiovanni Capurro / Eduardo di Capuait en nl1898
The Organ-Grinder's SerenadeCharles K. Harrisen1897He plays for a small girl in life and death: She's going to die. Please sir, don't cry. / Play her your serenade.
El chincatapunchincógrafo, etcéteraAntonio Rodríguez Martínez / Coro “Los Abanicos”es1897Song about the marvels of electricity: En la época presente / no hay nada tan floreciente / como la electricidad... Hasta yo creo que un aparato de inventará / para fabricar chiquillos / por medio de la electricidad.
Paternal. Tornant del Liceu en la nit del 7 de novembre de 1893Joan Maragall / The Singing Organ-Grinderca en1893I've done this a few times in Catalan and English but don't really know where to take it next.
Happy birthday to youen es ca1893I believe I can sing this now without being sued by copyright lawyers.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Daisy bellHarry Dacreen1892Love on a tandem: But you'd look sweet / Upon the seat / Of a bicycle built for two.
Tha-ma-ra-boum-di-he / Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ayMama Lou / Lottie Collins / Polaireen fr1891
Ya hemos visitado el AstilleroLos Moros Babucheroses1891Working conditions in the factory at San Severiano, Cádiz could certainly be improved
She'll be coming round the mountainTrad.en1890s
Mamma mia, dammi 100 lire che in America voglio andar (Mum, give me 100 lire cos I want to go to America)Anonit1890ish?About the great Italian emigration (late C19th - 1930s). Often used with children. Should 'America' now be replaced by 'London'? Cento lire io te le do, ma in America no no no! 100 lire I'll give you, but America, no no no!
Trenta giorni di nave a vapore (Thirty days in a steamship)Anonit1890?About the great Italian emigration to the Americas beginning in the late C19th.
Whip and spurThomas S. Allen1890Morning, ladies.
Two lovely black eyes / Twee ogen zo blauwCharles Coborn / Willy Derbyen nl1886I learnt the Dutch lyrics first, but my Dad croons this Gladstonian warning by an East End comedian of the dangers of politics: Two lovely black eyes! / Oh! what a surprise! / Only for telling a man he was wrong, / Two lovely black eyes!
Zwei blaue Augen / Twee blauwe ogen / The two blue eyes of my sweetheart (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)Gustav Mahler / Dutch translation: Jan Rot / English: T.E. Clarkde nl en1885Auf der Strasse stand ein Lindenbaum, Da hab' ich zum ersten Mal im Schlaf geruht!
Away in a mangerTrad.en1884
Song of a blind Dutch organ-grinder in IowaAnonnl1884
Epitaph for James Bosworth, who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade and died, aged 70, a stationmaster at Northam, SouthamptonBen Trovatoen1882His name was actually John Hacker/Hucker Bosworth and his service overseas in the 1850s doesn't seem to include Balaclava, but still a splendid thing: Though shot and shell flew around fast, / On Balaclava’s plain, / Unscathed he passed, to fall at last, / Run over by a train.
Th' owd knocker-iupHenry Yates ('Tansy Tuft')en1880s?Lancashire dialect song by a cotton worker and amateur poet from Blackburn
The best of Tristan und IsoldeWagner / The Singing Organ-Grinder1880Wagner was a big country and western fan.
Ride of the ValkyriesWagner1880Kazoo special.
Softly awakes my heartSaint-Saensfr1880With Swanee whistle.
Blaze away marchHolzmann1880
Erev-Yonkiper nokhn halbn tog / 'Twas on the eve of Yom KippurAnonen yi1880Yiddish ballad of forbidden love between a Goy & a Yid, Singing Organ-Grinder's translation: 'And now is come the time of love: / Say unto me but yea or nay.' / 'Lov'st thou me yea, or lov'st me nay, / We must now part, my parents say.' Whereupon he shoots her.
The knocker-upAnon1880How did factory workers get out of bed before alarm clocks?
Laetissimam famam / Wesołą nowinęRyszard Ganszyniecla1878Latin version of Polish carol
In een blauwgeruite kiel (Draaiersjongen)Anton de Ropnl1875
Ballet of the unhatched chicksModest Mussorgsky1874Edited from an early piano roll. Virtual excerpt:
The cummerbund: an Indian poemEdward Learen1874
Manantiales de nitroglicerina (Nitroglycerin springs)Anónes1873Anarchist song: Nivelacion social!... Rota la valla / No más habrá, no más ladrones; / Partirémos sus bienes, sus millones / Cuando llegue su hora á la canalla.
The owl and the pussy-catEdward Lear / Mátyás Seiberen1871Can be performed with a projection of the 1952 Halas and Batchelor cartoon short for which Seiber's music was written
Waar de blanke top der duinenPieter Louwerse / Richard Holnl1870
De zilvervlootJ.P. Heije / J.J. Viottanl1870
O little town of BethlehemPhillips Brooks / Henry Garman / Ralph Vaughan Williamsen1868 (lyrics)See also Carloons.
The clown in the pantomimeWilliam Lingarden1868The last that I heard / Of her and her Joey the clown, / They played in the streets / And trudged it from town into town ... If you for amusements wish, / Take advice from me in time, / You should take your girl to a music-hall, / Not to a pantomime.
Noi de la mareTrad.ca1866Best-known Catalan Christmas carol
The Organ GrinderArthur Lloyd / G.W. Hunten1865Some guy's girlfriend, a banjoist, eloped with one. References Babbage and Bass's campaign against organ grinders.
El amor bajo la luz eléctricaAnones1865Don't rely on electric light if you're looking for cloth or a woman: No elijas mujer ni tela / Á la luz artificial, / Porque la una y la otra / Grandes chascos suelen dar.
Cantata nacionalJosep Anselm Clavées1864In his collection, Flores de Estío, the Catalan master utters Hispanophile sentiments which many prefer to forget: ¡Gloria á ESPAÑA! dó en paz hoy florecen / Con las ciencias, la industria y las artes; / Dó el progreso derrumba baluartes / Que en talleres se ven transformar.
Daar kom die AlibamaTrad.af1863Commemorates the visit of the legendary Birkenhead-built Confederate Navy commercial raider CSS Alabama to Cape Town during the American Civil War.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Anem al treballP.F.ca1863Selection from a very long ode to work, from just before the First (Spanish) Republic: The world will always be / the same as it has been, / the poor will be with us always, / and the rich and artisans; / when God disposes, / you know what will happen: / as we find it / we will have to leave it, / let's not trust in fancies, / let's go to work.
We three kings of Orient areJohn Henry Hopkins, Jr.en1857See also Carloons.
Land of my fathersEvan James / James James / Private Eyeen cy1856Phonetic transliteration of the Welsh: My hen laid a haddock on top of a tree / Glad farts and centurions throw dogs in the sea.
Row, row, row your boatTrad.en1852
A orillas del Llobregat (Flores de Estío)Josep Anselm Clavées1852Praise of the (industrialised) river south of Barcelona: A dar solaz al alma / Venid, niñas!... llegad! / Que aquí los céfiros / Agitan suaves / Las ramas fértiles / Donde las aves / Entonan cánticos, / Que alegran plácidos / Las ricas márgenes / Del LLOBREGAT!
When Birmingham is a seaport townAndy Casserley / Trad.en1851?Set to a lively tune.
Ostavaysya, brat Vanyukha / Stay well put, oh brother JohnnyRussian folkru en1850ishIn the repertoire of Grigorovich's Petersburg Organ-Grinders
Dance to your daddy (when the boat comes in)Trad.en1850?Games and dances
Video, possibly from another time or person:
k Zag twee berennl1850?
Coplas novas y divertidas las cuals esplican los mals ratos que solen donar las pusas los polls y las chinchas com nu veurà lo que no sirà siegoRamon Barrull (Lérida / Lleida, C19th, printed by Coromines) / The Singing Organ-Grinderca1850Broadside ballad about vermin: Las chinchas es cosa bruta, / Conforme hos he dit; / Perque se solen posar, / A los pots y banchs dels llits.
Trobo divertit sens pecar de la merda y del cagarAnon (Lérida / Lleida, C19th, printed by Coromines) / The Singing Organ-Grinderca1850An utterly filthy song in happily impenetrable Catalan: Lo vostre cul cuan cagueu, sembla unas castañolas / Your arse when it shits, sounds like castanets.
Once In Royal David’s CityCecil Frances Alexander / Henry John Gauntletten1848
LimericksRanjit Bolt, Edward Lear et alen1846-2014High-class doggerel.
Little Billee aka Little Boy BillyWilliam Makepeace Thackeray / Bob Robertsen1845Cannibal shanty based on Thackeray's parody of La Courte Paille / Il était un petit navire (C16th?). There are also Catalan and Italian versions, but the best are the Portuguese Nau Catarineta, sung ceremonially in parts of Brazil, and the Dutch Ketelbinkie. I believe the latter is also based on Thackeray. The best-known English melody is that of Bob Roberts and has much in common with that in Harold Scott's English Song Book (1925). Ralph Steadman did a nice piratey version.
Parody of Heavenly UnionAnonen1845Parody of Come, Saints and Sinners, Hear Me Tell, a hymn popular in the South, from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845, the Anti-Slavery Office)
The teetotallersRev. John Mason Nealeen1843Neale was a CoE conformist activist and scourge of dissenters
ChirivíAnónca1843Cannibal song from Barcelona's Jamancia revolt: á Cristina y Narvaez / y á tots los moderats / dintre de una paella / los freixirém plegats.
Here we go round the mulberry bushTrad.en1840sGames and dances
Per fi ya enarbolat / veyem lo san pendó, / quens diu Societat, / Fraternitat y Unió.Societat de Teixidós de Barcelonaca1840Himno del primer sindicato en España, la (barcelonesa) Sociedad de Tejedores / Anthem of the first trade union in Spain, the (Barcelona) Society of Weavers
The loving ballad of Lord BatemanWilliam Makepeace Thackeray / Charles Dickensen1839Parody of a popular ballad.
Grace Darling, a balladGeorge Lindleyen1838A great Victorian ballad for a great Victorian heroine: The danger past, her heart beats lightly, / Her silent transport no pride betrays, / Tho' grateful tears are round her falling, / And hearts are throbbing to her praise.
Bullangas de Barcelonaes1835Barcelona's bull-fight rebellion, during the First Carlist War: Muy espantoso es Bullánga / Lo mismo es que Satanás, / Y este con la cruz se abate / Y aquel con la ley no mas;
I saw three shipsTrad.en1833
¡Año fatal! ¡Año atroz! – (Pre)juicio del año 1833Anones1832Premonitions of the First Carlist War from an almanac: ¿Oís zumbar el cañon? / ¿Oís como cruje el parche? / ¡Quede estragos! ¡Qué de horrores! / Temblad míseros mortales.
Mary had a little lambSarah Josepha Hale / Lowell Mason / Afferbeck Lauderen1830 / 1965In 19th century English and then in 20th century Strine: So Mary Header little lamb / With vedgies and mint sauce. / 'Oh dearest lamb,' she cried, 'I am / As hungry as a horse.'
I love little pussyTrad.en1830Cats and mice
Ave MariaBach-Gounod1830With Swanee whistle
Der Leiermann (Winterreise)Wilhelm Müller / Franz Schubertde1827The owner of a hurdy-gurdy, which is not the same as a barrel organ.
Cease, ye noisy Minstrels, ceaseAnonen1826Splendidly awful poem about street performers.
Ode to Joy / An die FreudeSchiller / Beethoven / Rowan Atkinsonde en1824Bremain would have won if they'd featured this in their ads. Perhaps.
Das Grab ist tief und stille (The grave is deep and silent)Salis / Nägelide1822Accompanies the story 'Diogenes with his barrel-organ.'
Aiken DrumTrad.en1820Riddles and nonsense.
Complainte de FualdèsMoreau et Catalan / Trad.fr1818In 1817 a judicial official was murdered in Aveyron and hurdy-gurdies or barrel organs were used to drown out his cries.
The patriot's hymnSamuel Bamforden1815Parody on God Save the King in response to Waterloo
The Famous Battle of WaterlooAnon.en1815Ballad lament
The holly and the ivyTrad.en1810?
Twinkle, twinkle, little star Trad.en1806 (melody 1761)Lullabies
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?Trad.en1805Cats and mice
Marmotte (Das Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern / Op. 53 no. 7)Goethe / Beethovende en1805Parody of a Savoyard organ grinder and his marmot at a fair: It's many a land I've travelled through, / Avecque la marmotte, / And I always found some thing to chew, / Avecque la marmotte.
Polly put the kettle onTrad.en1803See also O du lieber Augustin.
The Barrel-OrganCharles Dibdinen1802Parody of a London German organ-grinder, who intersperses his song with other Dibdin songs: De midshipman wid de pretty girl, / He say for a tune are you willing; / So I pull out de stop and I grind and I twirl, / And all to get an odd chilling.
LuchinushkaRussian folkru1800ishIn the repertoire of Grigorovich's Petersburg Organ-Grinders
KatinkaRussian folkru1800ishThe belle of the village was Katie. In the repertoire of Grigorovich's Petersburg Organ-Grinders
El lobo devoradorTrad.es1800A ravenous wolf in 19th century Spain. I don't think it's a metaphor for George Borrow: Es posible, justo cielo / que permita tu bondad / que contra el hombre se ensañe / una fiera sin piedad?
Voici trois BohémiensProvençalfr1800Three gypsies read the palm of the baby Jesus: Tu es, c’est mon avis, Car je le lis, de Dieu le fils tout adorable.
Guter Mond du gehst so stille, durch die Abendwolken hin (Oh, dear Moon, you go so quietly, / Through the evening clouds away)Anonde1800Accompanies the story 'Diogenes with his barrel-organ.' Based on the version from Ludwig Erk's 1838 folksong collection.
El cura enfermoAnones1800Priestly love, Cadiz style: Estando un curita malito en la cama, / a la media noche llamó a la criada. / -¿Qué tiene el curita, tan deprisa llama? / -Quiero chocolate, lo quiero en la cama.
O du lieber Augustinde1799
Hot cross bunsTrad.en1798Food
Diddle diddle dumplingTrad.en1797Lullabies
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall Trad.en1797Riddles and nonsense. Some busts are for ever.
Gott erhalte unsern Kaiser! (God save our Kaiser!)Joseph Haydn / Freiherr v. Zedlitzde1797Austrian imperial anthem with lyrics in use around 1813 during the reign of Franz I. Accompanies the story 'Diogenes with his barrel-organ.'
Tom, Tom, the piper's sonTrad.en1795
The birdcatcher's song (Magic Flute)Mozarten1791
Ring a ring o' rosesTrad.en1790sGames and dances
Lang zal hij levennl1790?
Budget dayJohn Freeth1790Government debt and a spendthrift establishment, but will posterity pay?
Herr BacchusAnonde en1789?Comparisons with Apollo in a drinking song!
Los ayres fijos: poema didáctico en seis cantosJosé Viera y Clavijoes1784Ode to a hot-air balloon: Moradores de Nesle ¿Que es aquello / Que veis venir rasgando el Horizonte? / No es la ascencion de Ganimedes bello, / Ni el precipicio del audaz Faetonte, / Del Iris matizado no es destello, / Ni el Pegaso que dexa el doble monte; / Es la Nave Aërostática velera / De Argonautas que surcan la atmosféra.
The tripe eatersJohn Freeth1782In his bio, on my Amazon wishlist
Die Gedachte sind frei / De gedachten zijn vrijde nl1780sFreiheitslied from SW Germany (?)
AbendliedMatthias Claudiusde1779Der Mond ist aufgegangen...
(American) liberty song, with parody, and parody of that parody1768Tune: hearts of oak.
Rock-a-bye babyTrad.en1765Lullabies
Hey diddle diddleTrad.en1765Riddles and nonsense.
La locura más discreta que se dice executó la villa de Níjar del obispado de Almería, el día trece de septiembre de este presente año de 1759Diego Ventura Rejón y Lucases1759Vía Ortega y Gasset, a tale of popular madness: Con aquestos desbaratos / toda casa esta assolada, / no dejando tales tratos, / cazos, sillas, platos, nada, / ni aun la nada entre dos platos.
O come, all ye faithfulFrederick Oakeley / John Francis Wadeen1751 (tune) / 1841 (English lyrics)
London Bridge is falling downTrad.en1750ish (lyrics) / 1879 (tune)
La rejouissance (Music for the royal fireworks)Handel1749With kazoo. How can you rejoice wihout kazoos?
Oranges and lemonsTrad.en1744?Games and dances
Mary, Mary, quite contraryen1744 (lyrics)
Hickory dickory dockTrad.en1744Cats and mice
Who killed Cock Robin?Trad.en1744One of the greatest murder songs in English: Who killed Cock Robin? / I, said the Sparrow, / with my bow and arrow, / I killed Cock Robin.
Sing a song of sixpence Trad.en1744
Chanson nouvelle sur les cris de Paris / New song on the cries of ParisAnonfr en1738Translated excerpt, featuring organ-grinders and their marmots.
Baa, baa, black sheepTrad.en1731
La poule (Suite in G major/G minor)Rameaufr1726?With added chicken noises
Little Jack HornerTrad.en1725Food
Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre / Mal'bruk na voynu edetRussian folkru fr1709ishIn the repertoire of Grigorovich's Petersburg Organ-Grinders
The dragon of WantleyTrad.en1700?To see this fight, all people then / Got up on trees and houses, / On churches some, and chimneys too, / But these put on their trowses.
Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker's manTrad.en1698Food
Noë per tsanta à la Grand Messa / Noel to be sung at the Great MassTrad.oc en1690?Savoyard carol in Provençal from Bessans in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, early focus of organ-grinders and other ambulants. Features angels singing like organs and marmottes. Abridged translation into English.
St. George for EnglandJohn Grubben1688The story of King Arthur old / Is very memorable, / The number of his valiant knights, / And roundness of his table
Sussex Carol / On Christmas night all Christians singLuke Wadding / Ralph Vaughan Williams / David Willcocksen1684
Here, here, here is pig and porken1680sIrish anti-Catholic song: Giving an Account of a Father Wifely, the Popish Bishop of Kildare in Ireland, and a Shop-keeper's Wife in High-street, Dublin.
Barbara AllenJoan Baez / Jim Morayen1660s?Great song: Young man, I think you're dying.
To a lady that desired me I would beare my part (sic)Richard Lovelace / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1649First use of 'serenade' in English: What, though 'tis said I have a voice; / I know 'tis but that hollow noise / Which (as it through my pipe doth speed) / Bitterns do carol through a reed.
The World Turned Upside Down (melody: When the King Enjoys His Own Again)Anon / Martin Parkeren1646A protest from the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts against Parliament's proscription of Christmas traditions. Not to be confused with the Leon Rosselson song made famous by Billy Bragg.
Dialogue Between a Glutton and an EchoAnonen1634Echo verse with audience participation. Lead: My belly I do defy. Echo: Fie!
A dogge of warreJohn Tayloren1628In doggrell Rimes my Lines are writ, / As for a Dogge I thought it fit.
O Jesulein süss! O Jesulein mild!Georg Christian Schemellide en1620O little one sweet, O little one mild, thy Father's purpose thou hast fulfilled.
Een kindelien zo lovelik / Ein Kindelein so lö de1618My favourite Low German carol.
Heer Jesus heeft een hofken daer schoon bloemen staenAnonnl1617Lord Jesus has a garden with beautiful flowers ... make of my heart your garden, it is ready / Seigneur Jésus a un jardin où se trouvent de belles fleurs ... fais de mon cœur votre jardin, il est prêt / Heer Jesus heeft een hofken daer schoon bloemen staen ... maect van mijn hert' u hoveken, het is bereyt
O Tannenbaum / Oh Christmas treeErnst Anschütz / Melchior Franckde en1615On request I will also sing the mildly smutty Low Saxon version.
A roaring boy's descriptionSamuel Rowlandsen1612London hooligans, from 'A Paire of Spy-Knaves'
The three ravensTrad.en1611A dead knight's hawks, hounds and girlfriend deny them dinner
Three blind miceTrad.en1609 / 1805Both the original and the modern versions are available
When that I was and a little tiny boy (Hey, ho, the wind and the rain)William Shakespeare / John Harle1601Feste the Fool's closing song from Twelth Night. Version of Elvis Costello's version of the traditional version sung by Alfred Deller.
Sweetest love, I do not goeJohn Donne / Ralph Steadman / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1600?It cannot be / That thou lov'st me, as thou say'st, / If in thine my life thou waste, / That art the best of me.
Dale si le das, mozuela de TerrassaAnon / Cancionero de Barbieries1600Early modern joke song, where the expected obscenity always turns into something inoffensive: Una mozuela de Logroño / Mostrado me habia su co.......po de lana negro que hilaba. Con una larga etcétera.
Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen / Lo, how a rose e'er bloomingMichael Praetoriusde en1599My favourite Marian hymn.
The willow songTrad.en1590s?Desdemona sings it and then her beloved Othello murders her
Good King Wenceslas / Tempus adest floridumJohn Mason Nealeen la1582 (melody) / 1853 (English lyrics)Bohemian fantasy.
Ding dong bell, pussy's in the wellTrad.en1580Cats and mice
Het WilhelmusTrad.nl1570?Naar de versie voor Dubbele Biphone die door de Leidse politie in 1940 in beslag werd genomen en in 2012 voor het eerst opnieuw werd uitgevoerd.
Old 100th / All people that on earth do dwell / Herr Gott, dich loben alle wirLoys Bourgeois / William Ketheen de1561Available in full version and in mid-C19th small organ pastiche.
A frog he would a wooing go Trad.en1548Fate
The hunt is upWilliam Grayen1540?16th century Brexit metaphor? The hunt is up, the hunt is up, / And it is well nigh day; / And Harry our king is gone hunting, / To bring his deer to bay.
Coventry CarolRobert Crooen1534 (lyrics) 1591 (tune)Herod is slaughtering the Innocents: Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee, / And ever mourn and say; / For Thy parting, nor say nor sing, / By, by, lully, lullay.
Villançico contrahaziendo a los mocaros que sienpre van ynportunando a los peregrinos con demandasJuan del Encinalf1520ishA beggars' song: the poet was in the Holy Land in ±1520 and tried to reproduce the lingua franca of the hordes of fake amputees and saints who plagued poor pilgrims there and at home: 'Benda ti istran plegrin: / benda, marqueta, maidin. / Benda, benda stringa da da / agugeta colorada. / Dali moro namorada / y ala ti da bon matin.'
A the syghes that cum from my hartAnon.en1500?Farewell, my joy, and welcome pain
Morenica a mí me llamanAnones1500Song about skin pigment from the Sephardic repertoire: 'Morenica a mí me llaman, / Yo blanca nací. / El sol del enverano / a mí me hizo ansí, / Morenica y graciosica sois.' See also: 'Aunque soy morena / no soy de olvidar / que la tierra negra / pan blanco suele dar.' And Lope: 'El astrólogo me dijo / verdad pura; que si tengo / Hijos, ajedrez serán, / Pues serán blancos y negros.' And William Blake: 'My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but O! my soul is white;' etc etc
Es ist ein Schnee gefallenAnonen de1467Wonderful translation by J.K. Annand: It's snawin cats and dugs, / Winter's owre early, / Hailstanes blatter my lugs / The road is smoorit fairly.
Der Kampf des Roraffen mit dem HanenAnon / The Singing Organ-Grinderde en1450?Translated excerpt from a Low German saga in which a puritanical rooster-man drives a fun-loving monkey-man out of Strasbourg Cathedral.
For hageseAnon / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1430Rhymed medieval haggis recipe: Þe hert of schepe, þe nere71 þou take, / Þo bowel no3t þou shalle forsake.
The cherry tree carolTrad.en1400sBased on the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and probably basically C15th: When Joseph was an old man, / An old man was he, / He married Virgin Mary, / The Queen of Galilee.
In dulci jubiloHeinrich Seuse / Robert Pearsallen de la1328I do both the German-Latin original and the popular Pearsall Anglicisation
Sumer is icumen inAnon. / Ezra Pound / Peter Firmin / Oliver Postgateen1250Round progressing from Wessex Middle English (The bullock stirs, the stag farts, / Merrily sing, Cuckoo!) via miseryguts' Ancient Music (Winter is icumen in, / Lhude sing Goddamm) to the Bagpuss mice (We will fix it).
Video, possibly from another time or person:
SederuntPérotinla1200sGreat example of organum (ca. 1200) from the master of Notre-Dame. Tenor here. Bi ther grete criyng of song, as deschaunt, countre note and orgene, thei ben lettid fro studyinge and prechynge of the gospel.
Cowboy FredWillem Wilmink / Frank Dieman / Triooonl en
Qué pena siente el almaVioleta ParraesClassic Chilean organ-grinder waltz.
Cuando salí de la HabanaValencianoesDe nadie me despedí, / Solo de un perrito chino que venía tras de mí/When I left Havana I said farewell to no one - except a little Chinese dog which came after me
Micalet GarciaValencianoesHe's corrupt
Fraile, fraile, comiendoValencianoes
La fiera malvada de JerusalénTrad.esBallad about mythical monsters: Dos cuernos en la cabeza / también alas que volaba / vestida como una tortuga / no la hería ninguna bala.
SinterklaasliedjesTrad.nlDutch Santa Claus songs.
El milagro de BenarrabalTrad.esMuchos hay que en Dios no creen / ni a su madre la veneran / de los templos hacen mofa / y al anciano lo apedrean
Bloody OrkneyTradenSubstitute any trochaic township.
Come on chapsTradenTeasing/bragging song: Blackpool is the place for me, / a fishing from the rock. / I never use my fishing line, / I always use my... / Dainty little fingers...
CowtownThey Might be Giantsen
Video, possibly from another time or person:
The galaxy songMonty PythonenThis is the extent of my physics.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
JilguerosLibertad Lamarque y JoselitoesFinches
Sociedad Antonio MaceoIsrael 'Cachao' LópezesCha-cha
Canción del caboFrancisco Logroño, Cabo primero de la tercera Compañía de IngenierosesLove song by a corporal in the 3rd Company of Engineers: Cuando llegará el día, / Que yo te pueda estrechar, / En los brazos de mi amor / Y en tu lecho descansar?
Ford V8Enrique Jardiel Poncela / The Singing Organ-GrinderesCuban song in praise of Henry Ford's motors: ¿Y no callé siempre y siempre me callo / los contados días que tienes un fallo?
Pican los mosquitosEl payo Juan ManuelesMe duelen los hue...sos
Sabre danceAram Khachaturian / Andrews SistersenPure Orientalism: Drums are booming, cellos zooming, / Cymbals crashing, sabres flashing in a willy nilly sort of way,.
Romance del cerco de BazaAnon / The Singing Organ-GrinderesSobre Baza estaba el rey, / lunes, después de yantar. My favourite Reconquista ballad, about the taking of Baeza in 1489.
The worm song (nobody likes me)en
My uncle's Sunday SchoolenLighthearted Bible education. My mum used to sing the verse about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (The Lord provides his children with an asbestos shirt). Chorus: Old folks, young folks, everbody come,/Join my uncle's Sunday School & make yourselves at home:/ Bring your sticks of chewing gum and sit upon the floor,/And we'll tell you bible stories that you never heard before
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Das Lied vom braven Manne (The song of the goodly man)deAccompanies the story 'Diogenes with his barrel-organ.'
La reina del placeresHabanera
The first NowellenBorn is the King of Israel.
While shepherdsenWashed their socks by night.

Update: 2021/02/26


  1. I’m impressed By the repertory. Its a poem! The mixture of languges, generes, text&number…. Mindblowing.
    By the way: para el caso; la pintura de los monos creo que. Es de David Tenniers, que tiene una seri de monos: escultores, pintores, constructores, orquesta, desfile, tribunal y sastrería… Etc
    Dejo para el final la felicitación al artista- cantante. Congratulations

  2. Grazie mille, maestro (busqué más info en Google)! Fue todo un placer conocerte hoy (pasa bastante gente interesante por esa plaza), y espero encontrarte la próxima vez bajo mejores condiciones técnicas!

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